|By Carmelo Turdo|
The arrival of the USAF Thunderbirds overhead occurred as scheduled around 2:30 on the sunny Thursday afternoon. The team's red, white and blue F-16s passed in review and then flew their airshow formations and solo passes to get their bearings on the base's performance airspace. It was a great opportunity to get a first look at the 2017 Thunderbirds and take some photos for our promotional stories.
Following the flying portion of the arrival, the team performed a tactical break and settled into the landing pattern. Soon after landing, the six jets taxied to the apron and parked in a neat row across from the other two team advance party jets and the C-17 cargo support aircraft. The crew chiefs and ground support personnel smartly marshalled the jets to their assigned spots and greeted the pilots as they exited the aircraft. We captured some of the interaction between pilots and ground crews as they gathered on the apron and met with local media awaiting their arrival. Included in this series is our friend Joe Gurney from the Missouri Aviation Historical Society conducting an interview with Thunderbird 5, Lead Solo Major Alex Turner.
Colonel Laura Lenderman, 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander, was there to greet the Thunderbirds as they arrived, and she stayed on site to visit with the media. She posed with some of the Thunderbirds ground support personnel, her Public Affairs staff and yours truly. The Aero Experience thanks Colonel Lenderman and her staff for hosting the media on this and other occasions this year.
The Thunderbird media ride of the day went to Fox2Now reporter Ayesha Khan following the arrival and media interviews on the apron. We remained until she took off with Thunderbird 7, Operations Officer Lt. Colonel Kevin Walsh.
Thursday's activities came to a close following the media flight departure, and so we downloaded, recharged and prepared for a full day of airshow activities on Friday. Check again for our Military Appreciation Day airshow and static display coverage coming soon.